Archive for March 2010

Escarpment lands II ~ Background history

” The subject land forms one of the most important landscape features of the Shire.”

p 100, Report to the Council of the Shire of Byron – February 1987,                                                                    Office of the Commissioners of Enquiry for Environment and Planning.

Protection measures for escarpment lands in the New South Wales Byron Shire were created with the establishment of the Byron Local Environment Plan in the year 1988.

The rationale for the 7 (d) Scenic / Escarpment Protection Zone was detailed in the publication, Byron Bay Local Environmental Study, Byron Shire Council 1981.  This study identifies the Coorabell / Ewingsdale escarpment lands as regional prominent  landscapes.” Important vistas and landscape features are to be protected. p 16….. Lands such as the escarpment lands behind Byron Bay were identified as being of prime landscape value and stringent planning controls were recommended to be applied here. p 19 “

The Byron Shire Draft Local Environment Plan, 1986, states with respect to the Scenic / Escarpment Zone that “the major objective of this Zone is to protect and enhance areas of major scenic quality in the Shire.”

Quote Visually prominent / scenic areas ~ Inappropriately located rural settlement can ultimately destroy the very scenic amenity of an area which attracted residents in the first place.  Preserving the dominant landscape features or scenic characteristics of an area is fundamental to ensuring that the visual rural qualities of the Shire (i.e. prominent ridges, bushland or timber, creeks, views, aspect, etc.) are not further diminished by future rural settlement.  ~   As a minimum starting point, the Strategy excludes all lands zoned in the Byron LEP 1988 as  7(d) (Scenic / Escarpment Zone ) from future rural settlement in the Shire.” ~ Extract from the ” Byron Rural Settlement Strategy 1998 ~ Best Practice Guidelines and Performance Standards ” ~ Page 99

As evidenced by current site modifications on protected escarpment lands, the adherence to policies introduced more than twenty years ago have now become watered-down or non-existant, with detrimental effects to  the escarpment environment.  Perhaps the Byron Shire Council should take charge and demonstrate that it is truly serious about the environmental management of sensitive escarpment lands.

original publications covers

Escarpment lands under pressure

One cannot help but notice the visual impact of new development on the face of the escarpment in the Coorabell locality in the New South Wales Byron Shire.

Access roads crisscrossing the escarpment face and building structures that stand out and cannot go un-noticed.  These infrastructures are located on environmentally sensitive lands, that are supposed to be protected by existing land use planning legislation. Much more care should have been taken in their placement.

It seems that this type of development is now becoming the norm, with little or no restraint action being taken by the regulatory authorities. Over the years I have made representation to Local Government and relevant Government Agencies, generally receiving inadequate responses.

If the local government authority is not prepared to uphold its own planning policy in the Coorabell Escarpment locality, being a 7 (d) Scenic / Escarpment Protection Zone, then the proper protection of environmentally sensitive lands is lost now, and to future generations.

The Land Surveyor has always had a close relationship with the land. Associated with my work, at least, are accepted responsibilities in the consideration of social and environmental consequences which may impact upon the land.

Be informed, it is all too late when the noise of the earthmoving machinery is heard.

11 March 2010 update –  In response to requests, example photographs are provided. Left click to enlarge photos.

Taken from Myocum Road 2 October 2008

Taken from Myocum Road 9 March 2010

Taken from Kennedys Lane 16 October 2009

Taken from Kennedys Lane 9 March 2010

Coorabell Escarpment ~ Source ~ Google Map ~ added 13 April 2011